News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

September 25, 2005

AI Supports Justice For Martin O'Hagan

To Index of Monthly Archives
To September 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland & the Irish

SL 09/25/05 Amnesty Voices Support For NUJ Justice Campaign
ST 09/25/05 Extradition For Colombia Three 'To Fail'
BB 09/25/05 IRA Arms Move 'Must Be Credible'
GU 09/25/05 IRA Secretly Destroys Vast Arms Cache
SB 09/25/05 Insecurity And Fear Fuel Loyalist Violence
SL 09/25/05 Brigades To Be Halved
SL 09/25/05 NOT Marching Silently Into History
DI 09/25/05 Opin: Prepared For A New Political Battlefield
SB 09/25/05 Opin: The Final Countdown
DI 09/25/05 'Carnival' For Irish Unity
UN 09/25/05 McDowell: IRA Demo 'Grotesque'
UN 09/25/05 McDowell:Monochrome Vision Of IrishUnhistorical
UN 09/25/05 Northerners Beware Perfidious Albion
SL 09/25/05 Fitt Tribute Halted
SL 09/25/05 Delay Into RUC Deaths Probes Blasted
SL 09/25/05 Band Clash Sparks Fear Of New Feud
SL 09/25/05 UVF Murder Victim's Son Is Targeted
SL 09/25/05 Ulster-Scots Challenge
UN 09/25/05 US Warns: 'We're Sick Of Your America-Bashing'
TP 09/25/05 GAA Plans Alcohol Crackdown



Amnesty Voices Support For NUJ Justice Campaign

25 September 2005

AMNESTY International has reiterated its support for the
National Union of Journalists in its fight to have the
killers of reporter Martin O'Hagan brought to justice.

Wednesday marks the fourth anniversary of the murder of the
Sunday World journalist - shot dead by LVF gunmen in front
of his wife, Marie.

At the time, Secretary of State John Reid and RUC Chief
Constable Sir Hugh Orde vowed to have the killers put
behind bars.

Cops know who was responsible, but say they don't have
enough evidence to bring charges.

It's been claimed that several of the men involved in the
drive-by killing are being protected because they are
police informers.

At least a dozen members of the LVF gang have been
questioned, but freed without charge.

The NUJ has met with senior police officers involved in the
murder hunt, to express concern at a lack of progress in
the investigation.

Amnesty International is also following the case closely.

Spokesman Patrick Corrigan said: "We are extremely
disappointed that it's four years on, and no one has been
brought to justice.

"The freedom of the Press is one of those freedoms that
underpin a free society.

"We support the NUJ's call for the police and the justice
system to step up efforts to bring Martin's killers to

Sunday World Northern Editor Jim McDowell said he and his
colleagues were also concerned that the case hadn't moved

He said: "We have a very good idea of who was in that car
the night Martin was murdered.

"In fact, I know that one of them - who is a well-known LVF
drugs dealer - was drinking in a Belfast city-centre bar
this week with other drug-dealers.

"It appals me that this individual can still run about as a
free man.

"However, we are committed to doing all we can to bring
this assassin and his cohorts to justice."



The Sunday Times

Extradition For Colombia Three 'To Fail'

THE extradition request from the Colombian authorities for
the return of the Colombia three stands little chance of
success without significant revision, Irish officials say.

The say weak legal grounding, slipshod presentation and
poor translation are among the significant flaws in the 400
pages of documentation sent from Bogota seeking the return
of James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly to
serve sentences for training Farc guerrillas.

Further requests for documentation from Bogota and a
process of negotiation between legal advisers to both
governments are expected to improve the quality of the
Colombian extradition bid.

"This is likely to be a very long process," said a
government official. "The papers are not in the best shape.
This is the beginning of a process, and it is likely to go
back and forth until the optimum level of application is

"The legal people are just not happy with the basis on
which the Colombian application has been made."

Another government source said: "It is not going to stand
up to any kind of extradition process, it is not even done
very well. A 400-page document arrived that was written in
Spanish and translated into English over there before they
sent it. It is coming from a very different legal system
and at the end of the day we don't have extradition with

The taoiseach raised the question of the Colombia three in
talks with Sinn Fein at Government Buildings last week.
Bertie Ahern told Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness that
the circumstances surrounding the three's return was
clearly "an issue" affecting the peace process, but the
case would now go through the legal process and was out of
the hands of government.

Dermot Ahern, the minister for foreign affairs, met
Carolina Barco, his Colombian counterpart, last week on the
fringes of the United Nations assembly in New York. Ahern
told Barco that whatever decision was eventually made on
extradition, the government expected it to be appealed all
the way to the Supreme Court by either the three men or the

The examination of the papers from Colombia will take
several weeks, if not months, before a decision is reached
on how to proceed.

It is the responsibility of Michael McDowell, the justice
minister, to certify that an extradition request has been
received in respect of the three men. The chief state
solicitor would then apply to the High Court for arrest
warrants for the three, which would trigger a hearing of
the court.

Any ruling by the High Court would inevitably be appealed
to the Supreme Court. Domestic rulings on extradition are
not amenable to further appeal in European courts.

One of the three men, Jim Monaghan, took part in the Sinn
Fein-organised Rally for Irish Unity in Dublin yesterday.
Monaghan joined a number of men carrying a banner bearing
the slogan "Free all political prisoners now".

Monaghan revealed the return of the men in August when he
was interviewed at a secret location by RTE. He
subsequently made himself available for interview by gardai
at a Dublin station.


IRA Arms Move 'Must Be Credible'

Any IRA move on decommissioning must be credible enough to
convince unionists, NI Secretary Peter Hain has said.

His comments came amid mounting speculation that the
organisation is due to make a statement on disarmament in
the next few days.

Statements are expected from the body overseeing
decommissioning, two church witnesses, the IRA, as well as
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Mr Hain called on republicans to deliver on their promises.

"I think the people of Northern Ireland will want to see it
actually implemented," he said.

He said once unionists knew decommissioning was credible
and had been put in place, moves could be made towards
restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said the expected
announcement will be "more significant" than the 1994

He is to brief Irish-American politicians on developments
next week.

IRA disarmament is being overseen by an independent
commission headed by Canadian General John de Chastelain.

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said a
meeting between the general and the IRA in July had started
this latest process of decommissioning.

"The story of the end of IRA decommissioning is now only
days away from being told," he said.

"Since the beginning of this month, all three
decommissioning men - General de Chastelain, Andrew Sens
and Tauno Nieminen - have been in Ireland to complete the
job of putting the IRA's arms beyond use.

"This will not be the photographed decommissioning demanded
by the DUP last year, nor is there anything to suggest that
the DUP nominated church witness - the Reverend David
MCGaughey - will be involved.

"But, when he emerges to speak in the next few days, de
Chastelain will have to be definitive. He will have to say
that all IRA arms have been decommissioned."

In July, the IRA said it had formally ordered an end to its
armed campaign and said it would pursue exclusively
peaceful means.

The republican organisation said it would follow a
democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

Martin McGuinness told the BBC's Inside Politics programme
on Saturday that he believed the IRA would fulfil that
commitment to complete disarmament.

"General de Chastelain, when he deliberates on all of this
and explains to the world whatever work he is engaged in
with the IRA, will then make an announcement which, I
think, is even greater and maybe of much more significance,
than the events of the summer of 1994 or even the July 28th
statement," he said.

His comments came as Sinn Fein supporters gathered to mark
100 years of the party at a Rally for Irish Unity in

Mr Adams told the rally that republicans must reach out to

"There is a huge onus on Irish republicans to find an
accommodation with unionism," he said.

'On the Cusp'

On Friday, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Sinn
Fein had made it clear to the Irish government that
decommissioning would happen soon.

He was speaking after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern held his first
formal meeting with Sinn Fein since the Northern Bank
robbery last December.

Party leader Gerry Adams said: "We believe we are all on
the cusp of a future... to see democratic and peaceful
structures in place."

Mr Ahern said a verifiable act of decommissioning would put
it up to unionism that they must work in partnership with

DUP leader Ian Paisley has claimed the government had made
a "secret deal" with the IRA to exclude the need for an
arms witness acceptable to unionists.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/25 12:26:59 GMT


IRA Secretly Destroys Vast Arms Cache

Formal announcement is expected in days but unionists
demand photographic proof

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday September 25, 2005
The Observer

The IRA has decommissioned a huge haul of its remaining
weapons and explosives in a bid to break the political
deadlock in Northern Ireland, The Observer has learnt.

Republican and government sources said the formal
announcement that a vast arsenal of tonnes of illegal
rifles, rockets, anti-aircraft guns and Semtex explosive
had been put beyond use will be made possibly in the next
48 hours and definitely before Tony Blair's keynote speech
to the Labour party conference this week.

However, there will be no photographic evidence of the
disarmament, which was witnessed by two churchmen from
Northern Ireland, one a Catholic priest, the other a
Presbyterian minister.

John de Chastelain, the Canadian general who has the task
of overseeing paramilitary disarmament, will deliver an
inventory of the weapons destroyed at a press conference
early this week.

The IRA will also hold on to a number of personal
protection weapons for its so-called 'internal security
teams', many of these guns coming from a batch of weapons
smuggled from Florida in 1999. One of these handguns was
used to murder dissident republican Joe O'Connor in 2000.

One republican source in Belfast confirmed that a large
amount of weapons had been destroyed at a single secret
location in the Irish Republic within the past few days.
The same source said that, while there had been some
resignations from the IRA, none had joined any of the rival
republican terror groups.

An Irish government source indicated that the act of
disarmament occurred just before last Friday's meeting
between Sinn Fein and the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
- the first meeting between Dublin and the republican
leadership since the Northern Bank raid last December.

Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, yesterday
described the expected IRA move as 'more significant' than
its ceasefire in 1994. 'General de Chastelain, when he
explains to the world whatever work he has engaged in with
the IRA, will then make an announcement which is even
greater and maybe of more significance than the events of
the summer of 1994, or the 28 July statement,' McGuinness

But Ian Paisley junior, the son of the Democratic Unionist
party leader, said that without physical proof of
decommissioning there was no confidence among unionists in
the IRA's move.

'A photograph is physical but psychologically it would have
been even more important because it would have said its
[the IRA's violence] is really over. The fact that they
[the IRA] are doing this in secret indicates that it is not
for real,' he said.

While Tony Blair will trumpet the news during his speech at
Brighton on Tuesday, privately British officials do not
expect any serious negotiations between Sinn Fein and the
DUP to start until next April.

Ian Paisley's party has insisted that there must be several
reports by the Independent Monitoring Commission - the body
that scrutinises the status of paramilitary ceasefires -
before it would consider entering into talks with Sinn

After this week's Labour party conference, the government
is expected to announce a series of concessions to
republicans, including legislation allowing IRA so-called
'On the Runs' to return to Northern Ireland, further de-
escalation of the British military presence and a series of
'equality' measures for republicans on questions ranging
from the Irish language to British symbols in the local
judicial system.

The freedom, however, of IRA 'On the Runs' to come home
will not be contingent on those exiled at gunpoint by the
IRA also being allowed to return to Northern Ireland. A
Downing Street spokesman said the two issues were not
linked, which means hundreds of people will continue to
live in exile until the IRA unilaterally lifts death
threats against them.

Alasdair McDonnell, the SDLP deputy leader, denounced the
government's refusal to link the two issues. 'I welcome the
apparent solution to the difficult circumstances which
those on the run find themselves in. But I am deeply
concerned that it has not been reciprocated and that many
people who have been exiled, often following brutal attacks
by the Provos, still can't come home.

'I believe it should be linked as a matter of justice and
that the failure to take the plight of people brutally
exiled by the Provos into consideration is appalling.'


Insecurity And Fear Fuel Loyalist Violence

25 September 2005 By Declan Power

The loyalists can tear open the heart of Belfast but when
the IRA mentions decommissioning the spotlight immediately
swings back in its direction. Gerry Adams has centre stage
again and you can be sure the media circus will be at his
beck and call as the curtain comes down on the final
dramatic act of decommissioning.

Yet the real story concerning stability in the North
continues to lie in the loyalist/unionist camp. Large
swathes of the Protestant people in Northern Ireland feel
their position in society in being undermined.

Perhaps the most disturbing images from the Protestant
rioting were the sight of women and children lining the
roads to form ad-hoc roadblocks along with the bowler-
hatted and suited members of the Orange Order to hector and
threaten the PSNI.

Did this behaviour meet with censure from mainstream
unionist leadership? No, because no unionist politician
attentive to grassroots frustration can afford to go
against such heartfelt feelings that have now pervaded into
the mainstream unionist psyche.

It was little surprise then, that the recent decision to
disband the home service battalions of the Royal Irish
Regiment was greeted with dismay by middle class unionists.
The perception has created an unclear grasp of reality.

Even the mention of disbandment is somewhat disingenuous,
as it is only the home-service battalions of what was
really the old Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) that are
going, rather than the regular RIR component of the British

The 1st Battalion Royal Irish, the regular unit formerly
commanded by Col Tim Collins in Iraq, is still very much a
part of the regular British army. In fact Collins, now
retired, greeted the disbandment of the home-service
battalions with positive nonchalance.

The professional soldiers of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish
felt little kinship with the home-service 'troops'.

Unlike Territorial Army (TA) reservists, home-service RIR
men were not liable to serve anywhere outside the North.
They only had to venture to Britain when undertaking
certain courses. There was never any question of finding
themselves deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or subjected to
the same rigorous training regime.

As far as most of the regular soldiers were concerned, the
home-service element only clouded their long-held
regimental tradition of being an All-Ireland contingent.

There were many solid military and political reasons to
disband what in effect was a militia. In order to progress
the attractive nature of a police career to Catholics, it
was always going to be necessary to abolish a force that
had been tainted by sectarianism.

Policing was reconstructed, but the old UDR - as the new
RIR - had too much baggage.

Leaving it in existence was just a further impediment in
recruiting young nationalists into both the police and

Notwithstanding those sound reasons, for mainstream
unionism it was to be a traumatic event. If the working
class areas of loyalism have their perceived protectors in
the shape of the UDA and UVF, middle-class unionism felt
the RIR would always be there for them in time of chaos.

Yes, it may have been the unspoken unionist militia, but it
was also a symbol of legality and the British state's
intention to support their own, when the chips were down.

Middle class unionism feels part of their bulwark of
protection has collapsed.

Perception is reality. On the battlefield this maxim has
been used to great effect, often turning the tide in an
engagement where a physically inferior force should have

With this in mind, the two governments will come under
pressure to allay these fears within the Protestant
community. There is no point moaning that unionists lack
imaginative leadership or that they are constantly
antagonistic or suspicious.

History tells us that much of unionism was born of
insecurity and fear. In fact the Act of Union of 1801,was
initially resisted by the Orange Order such was their
distrust of British government intentions.

Now unionism is faced with a well-led Republican community
where everyone is 'on-message'. Much like the way New
Labour in Britain have played ducks and drakes with the
dissent-ridden Conservatives, Sinn Féin are lining up do to
the same and increase their influence in Northern Irish

In this context the two governments are likely to consider
ways of helping the creation of a 'new' unionism that can
start to allay the fears of the heartlands and dissipate
their current fearful perceptions.

Declan Power is an independent security and defence analyst
and author of Siege at Jadotville.


Brigades To Be Halved

25 September 2005

NORTHERN Ireland is set to lose one of its two Army
Brigades as a result of Government plans to reduce troop
levels to 5,000 by August 2007.

The province is currently divided into two brigade areas
which match the two police regions exactly.

Shackleton Barracks, Ballykelly, is the headquarters for 8
Infantry Brigade, which covers an area from the Glens of
Antrim through south Armagh to Fermanagh.

The 39 Brigade, run from Lisburn, has responsibility for
the Belfast area.

However, security sources said that within two years, 8
Infantry Brigade will have been disbanded and military
command centralised at Lisburn.

The Army has described the claims as "speculation".

But our sources say the single new brigade will be known as
39 Airborne Brigade and will be supported by three regular
Army infantry battalions, two of which will be based at
Ballykinlar and Palace Barracks in Holywood, and the third
at either Ballykelly or St Lucia Barracks in Omagh.

Disbandment of 8 Infantry Brigade will inevitably lead to
more civilian job losses.


NOT Marching Silently Into History

Feelings are running high inside the RIR. Most locally-
based troops now want out of the army and have their sights
trained on pay-offs equal to the RUC Patten deals. Stephen
Gordon and Chris Anderson report

By Stephen Gordon and Chris Anderson

25 September 2005

"THEY can stuff the Northern Ireland garrison," said an RIR
corporal from Portadown.

"I want out and I want a package that secures my family's
future," added the 37-year-old with 18 years' service.

"I won't be treated like a second-class citizen simply to
appease Sinn Fein or anyone else."

His anger and sense of betrayal seems to sum up the mood
among the majority of the RIR's home-based troops.

Fury at learning via the BBC that their jobs were to go in
August 2007, has given way to a desire for parity with the
RUC on severance packages.

But, without a union or federation to fight their corner,
there is a suspicion they'll come off second best.

"At the moment we are being told nothing about severance
deals," said another soldier from mid-Ulster.

"We are treated just like mushrooms - kept in the dark and
fed s***!

"We have a right to be treated the same as the RUC, we have
the same family commitments as they had. We also took the
same risks as they did.

"There's no way RIR soldiers will take this lying down.
Tony Blair shafted us and we will screw him and his
Government for every penny we can get.

"We want the same deal as the RUC and won't settle for
anything else."

A number of other soldiers expressed similar views.

Unionist politicians have been pressing the Government to
save the RIR battalions.

But none of the soldiers we spoke to expressed any interest
in remaining in the Army after August 2007 - even if the
Government did a U-turn and agreed to include home-based
troops in the proposed 5,000-strong Ulster garrison.

One senior NCO said RIR soldiers felt betrayed by the
Government and unionist parties.

"Politicians continually reassured us the future of the RIR
was safe," he said.

"Next thing we know, the BBC announces the RIR is to

"RIR soldiers are sickened at the way it was handled. They
just want out as soon as possible with the best re-
settlement package they can get."

He added that many RIR soldiers were apprehensive about
their severance packages.

"RIR soldiers can't be treated any differently than the RUC
or Prison Officers," he said.

"We have mortgages, families and cars, just like RUC
officers had. We want a fair deal and we want it negotiated

The senior NCO said morale in the RIR was at rock bottom.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey met with Defence Secretary John
Reid last week to demand a £200m redundancy package.

Sir Reg also urged Mr Reid to retain some RIR troops to
serve with the reduced Northern Ireland garrison.

No guarantees were given during the meeting.

Sir Reg's proposals for redundancy terms include an extra
£60,000 for all full-time members and £1,500 for part-
timers for every year of service.


EDITORIAL: Prepared For A New Political Battlefield

The IRA's bold move on decommissioning has given the
faltering peace process new life. Though republicans will
have mixed feelings about IRA weapons being destroyed while
the British remain armed to the teeth, there is a
widespread acceptance that the only battlefield which
matters anymore is the political battlefield.

And this momentous decision on decommissioning ensures that
we will see dramatic activity in that arena in the coming
weeks and months.

Those who are committed to creating a united Ireland will
find themselves once again setting the agenda — even as
they face fresh challenges.

As with the period in the wake of the IRA 1994 ceasefire,
when nationalism was on the crest of a wave, the period
ahead demands nationalist unity and clear thinking.

Already, the country is dividing between those who accept
that a united Ireland is not only the birthright of the
Irish people but that it can also bring massive social and
economic benefits, north and south, and those who support

On the side of the metaphorical angels on this issue are
Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the SDLP. Lining up to block any
generous response from the governments to the IRA move are
reactionaries across the island. The latter group includes
the PDs, who are scared out of their wits at the prospect
of Irish unity, Fine Gael and the DUP.

Among the undecideds are the Alliance, thinking unionists
within the UUP, and the Labour Party. (However, the woeful
statements of Labour leader Pat Rabbitte on the North,
which owe much to his Workers Party roots, give little
cause for optimism).

Though they are fierce political rivals, those who support
a united Ireland must find common cause. Sinn Féin will
fight Fianna Fáil in every corner of the 26 counties but
nationalists accept that it would be a disaster for the
peace process if Enda Kenny were to become Taoiseach.
Between now and the next election, Bertie Ahern has an
opportunity to prove to voters that he is the only
contender for the post of Taoiseach who can defend the
peace process.

Sinn Féin will think long and hard before going into a
coalition government with Bertie Ahern but their first task
is to win enough seats next time out to make themselves
candidates for cabinet seats. Certainly, it would be a
service indeed for the peace process if Sinn Féin could
oust the PDs from government.

Confirmation that the IRA has decommissioned – whether
reported verbally or with pictures – will mark the first
day of a new peace process.

It's up to both governments to respond with equally brave
moves on prisoner releases, demilitarisation, anti-
discrimination measures, and the delivery of a real peace


Opin: The Final Countdown

25 September 2005 By Brian Feeney

All the indications are that the IICD (Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning) will be able
to report this week that IRA decommissioning has been

For some time the three commission members - General John
de Chastelain, Finnish brigadier Tauno Nieminen and retired
US diplomat Andrew Sens - have been in Ireland, but AWOL
from their Belfast office.

Perhaps just as significant is the departure of Martin
McGuinness to the US, where he is usually dispatched
simultaneously with important IRA moves.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dermot Ahern met Gerry Adams on Friday, the first meeting
since the Northern Bank robbery. They dealt with a full
range of political issues. It is also no coincidence that
the Dáil starts sitting on Wednesday and the British Labour
party holds its annual conference next week.

It is fitting that decommissioning is heralded by all these
political indicators, because decommissioning of IRA
weapons has always been solely a political and symbolic
issue, with no military significance whatever.

As John Hume said when John Major's British government
raised decommissioning in 1994, an armed group could get
rid of its weapons on a Monday and start buying new ones on
Tuesday. Decommissioning mindsets was what was important.

Ramming this point home, Seanna Walsh, the man who read out
the IRA's July 28 statement ending its campaign, told the
DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson at a public meeting in west Belfast
last year that even if all weapons were decommissioned,
€150 would buy him the material to make a bomb to devastate
the heart of London.

Indeed, in the final years of its campaign, the IRA had
long since given up gun battles on the streets of the
North, relying instead on massive fertiliser-based bombs.
Furthermore, the IRA's main arsenal is composed of weaponry
that is 20 years old.

When the Real IRA began to arm after 1998, its members
quickly acquired RPG-18 type rocket launchers, a
considerable step up from the IRA's ancient though still
lethal RPG-7s.

So if there was no military point in hanging onto the
material, why didn't the IRA just get rid of it? The answer
is precisely because the weaponry was of political and
symbolic importance.

Initially, IRA leaders believed they would be able to go
through the peace process into politics without disposing
of their weapons.

They very nearly managed it, because the decommissioning
clauses of the Good Friday Agreement are nebulous,
committing participants "to use any influence they may have
to achieve decommissioning within two years of the
agreement and in the context of the implementation of the
overall settlement''.

For the IRA rank and file, handing over weapons was
unthinkable. The graffiti in nationalist districts said:
'Not a bullet, not an ounce.'

Handing over weapons was tantamount to an admission of

Worse, for many it would be an indication that their
struggle was illegitimate, that the unionists and the
British Army which hung on to their weapons were the 'good
guys'. They dug their heels in.

There was also the continuing threat of loyalist violence
in nationalist districts, and especially in Belfast, the
raison d'etre for the re-emergence of the IRA in 1970.

There was no sign of loyalists decommissioning or indeed of
anyone expecting them to do so.

Would the reformed police service do the business in the
event of an attack on say, Ardoyne, or the tiny,
beleaguered Short Strand?

Perhaps the big dumps could be concreted over, but
automatic rifles and pistols could be retained to defend
Catholic areas.

It was not on. Long before 1998, republicans had lost the
PR battle on decommissioning. It may have been illogical
and militarily pointless, but it was politically essential.

The story of the years since 1998 is the story of how Sinn
Féin's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness turned the
prospect of disarming the IRA from being an unacceptably
bitter pill into a situation where the retention of weapons
became an albatross around republicans' necks, a handicap
to the political and electoral progress of republicanism.

The republican leaders made a virtue of necessity. They
emphasised the extreme difficulty of persuading what they
call their "base'' to accept the destruction of its
arsenal. They claimed there was always the danger of
another split much worse than 1997, when Michael McKevitt
and a few diehards broke away to form the Real IRA.

In return for movement on weapons, Adams and McGuinness
extracted a whole raft of concessions from the British at
successive conferences in Hillsborough and in stately homes
in England.

They were also able to tie progress on decommissioning to
progress on demilitarisation by the British, which is also
required by the Good Friday Agreement.

The British Army dragged its feet. At the same time,
republicans were able to point to the clause in the
agreement which said decommissioning would only take place
"in the context of the implementation of the overall

As David Trimble repeatedly collapsed the agreement's
institutions because the IRA was not obeying his
unilaterally imposed timetable for decommissioning, Sinn
Féin leaders were able to point out that the British were
not implementing the agreement, and therefore the IRA was
not obliged to move.

Paradoxically, by making such an issue of decommissioning,
Trimble handed an enormous political advantage to Sinn
Féin. The IRA was able to sell the cow three times to

It is a moot point whether, if Trimble had left
decommissioning to the British and General de Chastelain as
laid out in the agreement, he might even now be First
Minister of a Northern executive.

Instead, he handed republicans a bargaining counter that
they used shrewdly against him, which led to his undoing.

By the time Trimble was sliding into oblivion in 2003, Sinn
Féin had its sights set on higher objectives. Once
decommissioning had happened, however small a slice it was,
it was no longer a matter of principle. The republican
base, though still unhappy with the concept, was satisfied
with the price their leaders had exacted.

Far more satisfying was Sinn Féin's electoral advance,
which occurred in direct proportion to the distance the
party moved from violence.

By the time of the British general election in 2001, Sinn
Féin had learned that Northern nationalists liked
republican politics, but did not like republican violence.

Adams and McGuinness were therefore able to pay for final
decommissioning, and, unimaginably, the winding-up of the
IRA campaign, in the currency of political and electoral

Sinn Féin's breakthrough in the 2002 Irish general election
cemented that success. It became crystal clear that further
advances in the Republic required the elimination of
weaponry and the removal of the IRA from the scene.

Far from being the 'cutting edge', as McGuinness once
described it, the IRA was now a brake on Sinn Féin's

Even so, the end of the IRA campaign announced in July and
the final destruction of its weaponry to be announced
imminently did not come about easily.

Many veteran republicans in the North have quietly walked
away, unable to accept the fundamental change in the
movement's stance.

There are still many nay-sayers. Adams admitted on Thursday
that the decision was a "gunk'' for many republicans.

For Adams and McGuinness, it is a managerial and
operational triumph. No previous republican leaders have
been able to engineer a final end to the IRA, even

In the past, weapons were always 'dumped' - ready to be
taken out again in the next heave. Not this time.

This generation of republicans are really saying they
believe there is an alternative to armed struggle.

They are only able to do so because of the success of Sinn
Féin in the last decade north and south - success
unprecedented since 1921.

As Adams told republicans in Mullaghbawn on Thursday, few
people either inside or outside the movement yet realise
the full historic significance of what has happened this
summer. If he's right, it will become apparent only in
future elections, something no one could have said about
republicanism before.

Brian Feeney is the author of Sinn Féin: A Hundred
Turbulent Years, published by O'Brien Press.


'Carnival' For Irish Unity

By Larry Levin

One of the most colourful and unusual political rallies in
years is expected to transform Dublin city centre today.

Thousands of supporters of Irish unity are converging on
the capital for a march and rally to celebrate Sinn Féin's
100th anniversary.

The theme of the event is "Make partition history – support
Irish unity". Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is the
keynote speaker and will deliver a major address on
building a united Ireland.

It will not be just any old political rally. The event will
also feature a unique and creative combination of street
theatre, performance art, historical drama and live music.

In fact, it will resemble "a carnival parade with a strong
political message", according to Caitríona Ruane, director
of Sinn Féin's centenary events and an assembly member for
South Down.

"This will be a big day out — a family day out.

"While it's a very political event, it's modelled on the
carnival parades from the North," she said.

More than 80 buses have been chartered to take thousands of
participants to Dublin from all parts of Ireland. Thousands
more people are expected to arrive by car and public

Many people are expected to come in period costumes
representing key moments in Irish political history that
have particular significance for their local area.

For example, Dubliners will be dressed in uniforms of the
Citizen Army to highlight the 1913 Lockout. South Armagh
participants, marching under the theme of
"demilitarisation", will dress to represent events from
1798 to the present.

Derry marchers will highlight the civil rights movement,
those from Belfast will represent the hunger strikes, and
Cork participants will dress in Flying Column uniforms
under the theme of "1921 — the Rebel County".

Also taking part will be campaigners from the An Fhírinne,
who will represent those who have suffered and died as a
result of collusion.

South Down will represent the blanket men and women, while
the west of Ireland will march under banners proclaiming
"The west's awake!" Many are expected to dress in the style
of Michael Davitt and Land League members.

Participants from the west will also honour Frank Stagg and
Michael Gaughan, hunger strikers who died in English jails,
and Kathleen Lynn, the Mayo woman who fought in 1916.

"It will be very colourful, very creative but with a strong
political message," said Ms Ruane.

She added that stage performances would include dramatic
readings from the key periods of Irish history represented
by the costumed marchers.

Other performers will include the popular Dublin folk
singer Brush Shiels and the Longstone Pipe Band from south

The march begins at Parnell Square at 2pm and will end in
front of the GPO on O'Connell Street, where a stage will be
set up.

Gardaí are expecting massive traffic congestion and will be
closing off streets in the city centre from 2pm.


McDowell: IRA Demo 'Grotesque'

Caroline Crawford And Shane Hickey

MINISTER for Justice Michael McDowell yesterday described
as "a grotesque pageant of political necrophilia" a Sinn
Fein rally in Dublin where children posed with replica

Dublin city centre ground to a halt yesterday when
thousands of Sinn Fein/IRA supporters marched through the
streets with IRA decommissioning already underway.

Some 4,000 people watched as Sinn Fein celebrated its
supposed 100th anniversary with some band members dressed
in paramilitary style uniforms.

A cross-political storm of protest gathered after the
parade in which children and adults posed for photographs
on O'Connell street with replica machine guns as
paramilitary-style floats sailed past.

Minister McDowell said: "This display shows Sinn Fein in a
time warp which has nothing to do with the Ireland of the

Fine Gael Senate leader Brian Hayes said the display was
nothing more than "neo-national triumphalism" and he
declared that the events "show new Sinn Fein is just like
old Sinn Fein".

Major traffic diversions were in place around both the
northside and southside as the city ground to a halt on a
weekend when thousands flooded in for the All-Ireland final
between Kerry and Tyrone.

The stark illustration of paramilitary symbolism
illustrated on the country's main thoroughfare came as
another strand of IRA decommissioning began.

A large-scale garda traffic operation saw restrictions on
Parnell Square, O'Connell Street, the Quays and College

Senator Hayes said "Dubliners are not happy to see this on
the streets.

"Ordinary Dubliners do not want to see their streets
snarled up for this neo-nationalist triumphalism."

The march started at the Garden of Rememberance before
progressing down O'Connell Street where the crowd was
addressed by Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams.

In his speech Adams renewed his call for the release of all
republican prisoners.

A number of marchers walked through the city dressed in
blankets in reference to the 1981 hunger strikes while
extracts from Bobby Sands diary were read to the assembled

However, Minister McDowell questioned the very basis for
the march.

"It is part of a massive lie which centres on an entirely
false proposition that Provisional Sinn Fein is the same
party as that founded by Arthur Griffith in 1905.

"The High Court many years ago found that there was no
truth in that suggestion," he said.

Senator Hayes accused Sinn Fein of glorifying a sectarian
murder campaign which was "anathema to democracy".

He declared: "They cannot be treated as a political party
and glorify the campaign of violence of the IRA."

The criticism is the latest to be lobbed at Sinn Fein this
week, after FG MEP Simon Coveney earlier slammed the
Colombia Three following their return to Ireland which has
created a "real legal difficulty" over extradition.

"It is shameful that Irish citizens have been to Colombia
to train terrorists and have not served a sentence for that
crime while we in the EU are discussing how we can support
a lasting peace process in Colombia," said Coveney.


Monochrome Vision Of Irishness Is Unhistorical

EVEN if I were born of different parents, I believe that I
would nonetheless hold to the same vision of Irish
republicanism that I have, in the course of my public life,
sought to realise for my country. But the family into which
I was born is one which gives me a keen personal insight
into the struggle and the values of those who brought about
Irish independence.

My maternal grandfather, Eoin MacNeill, who was born into a
nationalist household in Glenarm in Co Antrim, was one of a
handful of men who set in train the revival in Irish
nationalism that led to the establishment of the
independent Irish State.

His three eldest sons fought as members of the IRA in the
War of Irish independence. Two of them followed the
guidance of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and supported
Michael Collins and their own father on the Treaty. His
second son, my uncle Brian, took the Anti-Treaty side in
the civil war and was shot down on the slopes of Ben Bulben
in September 1922.

On my father's side, a great-grandfather was editor of a
nationalist newspaper in Belfast and later a Parnellite
editor of the Freeman's Journal in Dublin.

In passing, I would add that one of my wife's grandfathers
was an IRA commander from Monaghan and a republican hunger-
striker in Mountjoy prison who was elected to Dail Eireann
on two occasions as an opponent of the Treaty. The other
was a Republican from Cahirciveen whose home was demolished
by the Black and Tans during the war of independence.

All of them were nation-builders who, like many others,
acted honourably and bravely, risking everything that was
dearest to them, in the cause of Ireland.

I mention these matters not to claim for myself some
superior insight into Ireland's history or its future, but
simply to emphasise that I do not suffer from some blind
spot or failure of imagination or empathy with those who
care about Ireland.

I believe that there is a radical and fundamental
difference between Irish separatism on the one hand and
Irish republicanism on the other. It is true that
Republicans in Ireland since the time of Wolfe Tone have
been separatists. But they have been much more than
separatists. They have believed passionately in a concept
of Irishness that is not simply Catholic, Gaelic and

The true republicans' concept of Irishness includes the
Protestant people of Ireland - the Anglo-Irish and the
Ulster Scots. Their vision of an Irish Republic has always
been one in which all three strands would identify with
that republican state, with its culture and ethos, and with
its institutions, values and aspirations. By definition,
that hoped-for process of identification by the Orange
tradition with the cause of Irish republicanism necessarily
implies a correlative duty of respect on the part of Irish
republicans towards the Anglo-Irish and Ulster-Scots people
on this island.

Many of the founding fathers of the American Republic were
Ulster-Scots Irishmen who put their republican values
before their Planter origins. Their values were classical
republican values - love of liberty; hatred of absolute and
arbitrary power; hostility to ascendancy and aristocracy;
religious tolerance and freedom of thought; respect for the
rights and autonomy of the citizen. For all of these they
became American separatists and republicans.

The central vocation of Irish republicanism today - and its
greatest challenge by far - is the project of
reconciliation of Orange and Green. It is that project that
is symbolised by the tricolour.

There was in the past, at any rate, a curious tendency
among some romantic, Irish Catholic nationalists to refer
to the Tricolour as the flag of "Green, White and Gold" -
as if to conjure up the monochrome view of Irishness
embodied in the symbolism of St Patrick's Day and as if to
airbrush out of the portrait of Irish republicanism
anything other than Green, Gaelic, Catholic nationalism.

This view of Ireland is as unhistorical as it is anti-
republican. TheOrange panel in the Tricolour is no
printer's error for Gold. True Irish republicanism views
Ireland as the homeland of Orange and Green - as a society
in which both traditions are equally cherished and
respected and which neither tradition regards as a "cold

There is nothing republican about the project of setting
Green against Orange. Nor is there anything republican
about driving forward the process of polarisation and
segregation of the two communities in Northern Ireland.

If, as we do, the people of this State aspire to unite the
island and people of Ireland in a shared political future,
there is only one way to achieve that goal: to follow the
path of reconciliation - not the path of subjugation.
Reconciling Orange and Green is not for the faint-hearted,
not for the rabble-rouser, not for avengers, and not for

Reconciliation is a vocation that calls for civic virtues
that are not to be found in the actions, words, tactics and
strategies of the Provisional movement.

The Sinn Fein demand that Britain should now violate its
legal obligation of impartiality under the Good Friday
Agreement by siding with the nationalists against the
Unionists on the future status of the North is, in effect,
a demand for a breach of the Agreement - not merely in
spirit but in its letter.

It is grossly dishonest of the Provisional movement now to
pretend that the Agreement envisaged or allowed for the
British Government to pull the rug from under the Unionists
by actively pursuing a policy aimed at ending the Union. It
is also self-serving and wrong to attempt to switch to the
British the role of persuader for a united Ireland. That
role, difficult and challenging as it is, is the business
of Irish republicans and nationalists.

We interpret the clear words of that Agreement as a mandate
from the entire people of Ireland for reconciliation,
tolerance and mutual trust. That involves the creation of a
shared society in Northern Ireland which is free from
violence, sectarianism, threat of coercion and segregation.
It involves the creation of a society that is home to two
traditions that respect one another and work with one
another for shared goals.

IBELIEVE in a united Ireland not as a means of completing
the nationalist conquest but as the optimal outcome for all
the people of the island and for each of the communities in
Northern Ireland. From the point of view of the Protestant,
Unionist majority, I believe that a united Ireland makes
sense from a number of perspectives.

Firstly, I believe that a segregated, polarised Northern
Ireland damages and diminishes the majority community
there. Culturally, creatively and socially, I believe that
the mindset of siege and being beleaguered in one's own
land is deeply destructive. It is bound to produce an ever-
growing introversion.

Secondly, I believe that the majority community in Northern
Ireland are far more likely to have a real and decisive say
in their own affairs and in their own future by
participating in an all-island political and democratic
context than by hoping that their very small presence in
numerical terms would give them at Westminster.

Thirdly, I am convinced that the economic future of
Northern Ireland and the future prosperity of both
communities there lies in an all-island economy as part of
the EU rather than as a semi-detached economic outpost of
the UK economy. I believe that this is a compelling and
overwhelming case for North-South engagement in trade,
commerce and tourism. I believe that treating the North as
part of the UK for economic purposes will impoverish it and
render it increasingly dependent.

I believe that Irish political unity will come by stages
and degrees. I can well imagine that those stages will be
ones in which the present majority community in Northern
Ireland will hold on to their links with Britain, not
merely as a matter of citizenship but in other possible
forms - such as retaining the link by leaving Northern
Ireland as part of the Commonwealth and possibly by pooling
of EU functions with the Republic.

It must also be said that adjustment in the South of our
concept of Irishness to accommodate the Orange tradition is
also a pre-condition for any type of genuine Irish unity.
We are a long way from achieving that new mind-set. And
creating a warm place in our State for those of the Orange
tradition is not capable of being achieved overnight. A
society which is in denial over its Anglo-Irish and Ulster-
Scots heritage and which doubts the role of those
traditions and communities as integral parts of its
personality is incapable of genuine unification with
Northern Ireland.

The project of Irish unity is too important to leave to
those who have betrayed the real values of an Irish
republic. Working towards that aim is the vocation of a
new, generous-minded generation of statesmen and people who
can see that reconciliation of Orange and Green is only
possible on the basis of respect and trust.

Michael McDowell is Minister for Justice and PD TD for
Dublin South-east

Michael McDowell


Northerners Beware Perfidious Albion

THERE'S some excuse for the fatuity of Peter Hain,
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He is, after all -
as the great Lindy McDowell of the Belfast Telegraph put it
- "a Troubles virgin", who, "like so many of his
predecessors", has "been landed in a place he doesn't care
for, whose complexities he does not understand and the full
horror of whose recent past he doesn't appreciate."

Maybe - as working-class people live in fear of republican
and loyalist paramilitaries - when he burbles about his
mission to make Northern Ireland "a world class society
with a world-competing economy", Hain really believes the
nonsense that has been written for him. Maybe he really
means it when he assures loyalist paramilitaries that (for
a change) "you will not be allowed to terrorise your own
communities". Maybe he was just being absent-minded when in
his major speech last week he failed to mention that the
abandonment of IRA criminality is a prerequisite for the
restoration of the Executive.

A charitable interpretation would be that he is even more
stupid and ignorant than he appears.

There is, however, no possible excuse whatsoever for Hain's
cynical puppet-master, Jonathan Powell, Prime Minister Tony
Blair's Chief-of-Staff, who in Northern Irish terms is no
virgin, but rather an experienced old slapper.

I met Powell first in Washington in 1993 when I was
researching a book to accompany a TV series on the Foreign
Office. Powell was 36, had been a diplomat for 14 years and
as a result of having been the British observer on Bill
Clinton's campaign trail the previous year, was close to
the new administration. I was struck by his overweening
self-belief: he seemed to think he could run the Foreign
Office single-handed with a fax machine. He loved being
close to power, so it was no surprise when in 1995 he
defected to Tony Blair; twoyears later there was a New
Labour government.

I had dealings with Powell for a time as part of a small
group who were trying to help resolve the Drumcree crisis
and found him quick, receptive, pleasant and well-informed.
As with the peace process in general, on matters Orange he
worked indefatigably in his secret meetings with all sides
to try to find solutions.

So why do I now consider him Perfidious Albion incarnate?
Because I believe him to have put the interests of his
Prime Minister before morality, sanity and the people of
Northern Ireland - and, indeed, the Republic. Blair was the
man in the photographs and headlines about the peace
process,but Powell is Blair's key adviser and negotiator.

Side-deals were made with terrorists, the centre was
destroyed by the appeasement of the extremes, the
effectiveness of the police was sacrificed to please
paramilitaries of all persuasions and loyalist and
republican criminality was ignored. As Dr Alastair
McDonnell, the SDLP MP, put it in Thursday night's Channel
4 documentary on the Northern Bank robbery, on being asked
why Blair had never confronted Gerry Adams about IRA bank
robberies: "The real bottom line is that the Prime Minister
was prepared to sacrifice Northern Ireland. It didn't
matter much what sort of circumstances the rest of us had
to live in here, as long as there weren't bombs going off
in London."

It wasn't just republican terrorists that Powell snuggled
up to. A few months ago, with UDA Brigadiers Jackie
McDonald (who kisses our President) and Andre Shoukri
(whose displeasure at coverage of his activities in our
sister paper, the Sunday World , has led to violent attacks
on distributors' premises and death threats to
journalists), Powell allegedly cobbled together a financial
deal to buy them off.

It later fell apart, it would seem, because even the
Northern Ireland Office could not stomach once more bribing
racketeers and drug-dealers to keep them from embarrassing

Perfidious Powell hasn't sacrificed just the people of
Northern Ireland to protect his master. He also seems
relaxed about placing Irish democracy in peril.

Powell knows better than most that Sinn Fein is financed by
the biggest criminal gang in Western Europe. Yet once the
IRA has decommissioned all those weapons now surplus to
requirements, you can bet that Perfidious will beputting
pressure on the DUP - and indeed, on the Irish government -
to pretend that the Provos are now legit.

Even the dimmest unionists are coming to realise that they
have less to fear from the Irish government than from the
British. Michael McDowell may annoy them when he bangs on
about his republicanism and his desire for a United
Ireland, but they know he means business when it comes to
the IRA.

And not even the most moderate of unionists doubts that
Perfidious Albion would tomorrow - without a pang of
conscience - hand over the government of Northern Ireland
to an unholy alliance of sectarian bigots and unrepentant
terrorists and criminals.

Ruth Dudley Edwards


Fitt Tribute Halted

Councillors say no to City Hall ceremony

By Stephen Gordon
25 September 2005

BELFAST councillors have controversially rejected a bid to
honour Lord Fitt at the City Hall.

The late peer's grieving daughters said last night they
were "disappointed" at the decision to knock back the
proposed memorial ceremony.

The 'Miss Fitts' - as doting dad Gerry called his five
daughters - had planned to celebrated his life at an event
inside the building, where he first made his name as a
street-wise politician.

They hoped old friends and rivals from across Ulster's
political divide would gather at the "neutral venue" to
remember the former SDLP leader, who died last month aged

But on Friday, a powerful council committee unanimously
rejected the request, made on the family's behalf.

The all-party policy and resources committee - chaired by
Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey - stuck firmly to the council rule-

They accepted advice from council officers that the
proposed event did not meet the guidelines for functions
inside City Hall.

The news came as a blow to Gerry's five daughters - Joan,
Eileen, Betty, Patsy and Geraldine - who knew their
proposal fell outside the usual criteria.

But, in a letter to the council, they expressed the hope
that an exception could be made, given Lord Fitt's long
service to the council.

The letter stated: "It is envisaged that the event would be
non-denominational in nature, with music, poetry readings
etc, to celebrate his life."

Lord Fitt's funeral took place at Westminster Cathedral.

His family believed the city hall event would enable many
other friends, who were unable to attend the London
service, to pay tribute to him later this year.

It is understood that while some councillors on the
committee were sympathetic to the family's request, there
were concerns that the event would set a precedent, opening
the doors to many similar demands.

Gerry Fitt's family hope the full council will reconsider
the decision when it meets in October.

And there is speculation that they might look to Stormont
Parliament Buildings as an alternative venue.

The SDLP's Alban Maginness, who was not present when the
committee rejected the Fitt family's request, said he was
disappointed that the application had been turned down.

But he added that he didn't think the matter should become
a public row, which would only be hurtful to Gerry Fitt's
memory and his family.

Mr Maginness said he thought St Patrick's Church in
Donegall Street, where Gerry Fitt worshipped, would be an
appropriate venue to celebrate his life.

But, if the family preferred a non-church venue, he would
be happy to support a request to hold the tribute at

Said Mr Maginness: "Stormont would certainly be fitting.

"It was at Stormont that Gerry Fitt (then leader of the
SDLP) reached the pinnacle of his political career, taking
part in the greatest political initiative of the era - the
power sharing Executive."


Delay Into RUC Deaths Probes Blasted

By Chris Anderson
25 September 2005

THE IRISH government has been lambasted over alleged slow
progress in getting a public inquiry into the IRA double
murder of two RUC detectives up and running.

It was back in December 2003 that the Irish government
announced an inquiry into alleged Garda collusion into 1989
murders of Chief Superintentent Harry Breen and
Superintendent Bob Buchanan.

But more than 18 months later, the inquiry doesn't even
have an office open for business, and no staff have been
appointed to assist the judge, Peter Smithwick.

"It is an absolute disgrace," said outspoken victims'
worker, Willie Frazer.

"Progress on the inquiry has been almost non-existent since
it was first set up in December 2003."

William Frazer said the Irish authorities were guilty of
double standards in calling on the British government to
implement the inquiries recommended by Judge Cory, when
failing to make progress over Breen and Buchanan.

"They have yet to set up an office or provide any kind of
contact details," said the Markethill-based anti-IRA

"There is no published list of issues for investigation.
There are no details of the legal representation available
to the families of the victims. The legal and
administrative support teams have also still to be

"It's almost two years since the Cory Report was published.

"Clearly, the Irish government has no appetite for this
inquiry and will do everything in its power to stall
progress," he alleged.

A spokesperson for the Irish Justice Department confirmed
offices for the Breen and Buchanan inquiry had been secured
in Dublin, but were still being fitted out.

The spokesperson said contact details would only become
available after the inquiry team occupied its offices.

The Justice Department also confirmed Judge Peter Smithwick
was the sole member of the Breen and Buchanan inquiry.

The spokesperson said until the Dublin offices became
available, Judge Smithwick was currently conducting
preliminary, preparatory work from his home office.

RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan were shot dead in
March 1989. They had been returning north after meeting
senior Garda officers in Dundalk, when IRA gunmen ambushed
their unmarked police car near the village of Jonesboro in
south Armagh.


Band Clash Sparks Fear Of New Feud

By Joe Oliver
25 September 2005

A BLOODY street battle surrounding two loyalist bands has
sparked fears of a new feud between the UDA and UVF in
north Belfast.

The violent clashes erupted during a Pride of the Shore
parade and fundraising event, a week ago.

Up to half-a-dozen bandsmen were injured and one man was
taken to hospital with head, neck and back injuries.

Women and children were also caught up in the hand-to-hand
fighting that erupted along York Road.

One shocked observer told us: "It was mayhem and there
could have been very serious consequences, had police not
acted so quickly.

And last night, one UVF source claimed that UDA supporters
had "ambushed" members of the Mount Vernon Volunteers band.

Claimed the source: "There has never been any trouble
before at this annual parade - but then again, it was the
first time a band from Tiger's Bay had been involved.

"Their supporters clearly set a trap and were waiting on
their own territory near the Grove baths for the Mount
Vernon band.

"It was hot and heavy for a good 15 minutes before police
arrived. There were quite a few cracked skulls. The Mount
Vernon band was clearly outnumbered, and also separated at
that point from their own supporters.

"It's led to an uneasy stand-off in the area - who knows
what might happen next."

A loyalist source in north Belfast added: "This is being
looked on as a very serious incident and clearly the UVF
are not prepared to let it go.

"The view is that it is up to the UDA to discipline those
involved, or there could be real trouble."

A police spokeswoman described the condition of the man
taken to hospital as "not life-threatening".

She added: "Police inquiries into the matter are


UVF Murder Victim's Son Is Targeted

Sicko claiming to be Craig McCausland's killer sends deadly
email warning that he will kill two-year-old next

By Stephen Breen
25 September 2005

UVF murder victim Craig McCausland's toddler son is at the
centre of a sinister death-threat.

Cops are probing a threat made against two-year-old Dean
McCausland on a website launched to highlight his father's

Mr McCausland, whom police have confirmed had no links to
any paramilitary group, was murdered by a UVF gang in July.

Police believe he may have been targeted in a case of
mistaken identity.

The north Belfast man was the second of four people
murdered by the UVF during its feud with the LVF.

The sick message - on - was posted
by a mystery user known as 'Mercer' last week.

It read: "CC six-feet under. Dhu Varren Park - I was there.
You were a w*****. You will hurt even more now because I'm
going to take your son's life next."

The mystery user claims to be the gunman who blasted Craig
at his home, last July.

Police are hoping to trace the source of the email to
establish the user's identity.

The dad-of-one's cousin, Nicola McIlvenny, who is
spearheading the campaign to have killers brought before
the courts, last night branded the threat "disgusting".

Said Ms McIlvenney: "This may be the work of some sick
individual, but we still had to take it seriously.

"How could anyone stoop so low to send such a message and
threaten an innocent child?

"The user also claims to be Craig's killer and we now have
to see what the police do."

Added Nicola: "We expected messages like this on the
website and we have already removed a lot of them, because
we don't want the site being used as a chatroom.

"This message will not stop us in our quest for justice and
we are determined to carry on. The website is one way of
highlighting Craig's murder and we will continue to monitor

Since the site was launched, the murder victim's family
have been forced to remove postings from the site, because
it was being used as a chatroom.

But, they have received information on the alleged killers
and this has now been passed on to police.

They have also received messages of support from around the
world, including the US and Syria.


Ulster-Scots Challenge

25 September 2005

DOWN District Council is facing a challenge to make it the
first nationalist-controlled local authority to erect
Ulster-Scots signs.

The council has, over the years, erected dual signs in
English and Irish across several towns and villages in the

Neighbouring Ards Borough Council was the first to erect
Ulster-Scots signs in Greyabbey, Ballywalter and

Jim Shannon, the DUP MLA for the area and a leading
advocate of the Ulster-Scots language, said: "Killyleagh,
for example, can boast centuries of involvement with the
Ulster-Scots language."


US economic big-wig warns: 'we're sick of your America-bashing'

Jerome Reilly

ONE of the most influential businessman on Wall Street has
warned that aggressive anti-Americanism emanating from
Ireland will destroy US investment in this country, derail
the economy and undermine the peace process.

Denis Kelleher, a key member of the Ireland-America
Economic Advisory Board, which is chaired by the Taoiseach,
angrily denounced the latest wave of "America- bashing"
which followedHurricane Katrina.

As America begins to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane
Rita this weekend, Mr Kelleher told the Sunday Independent:
"This animosity towards America has done a lot of damage -
immeasurable damage between Ireland and Irish-America,
indeed America as a whole. And I can tell you, we are sick
of it," Mr Kelleher said.

Yesterday the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern,
said: "There is no doubt that when someone of Denis
Kelleher's standing outlines his anger at what he sees as
America bashing in Ireland then it is a matter we need to
take very seriously."

When he formed the Ireland-American Economic Advisory Board
shortly after he was elected Taoiseach, Mr Ahern said:
"Individually, they will be dealing with projects which are
bigger than the Irish economy. I don't think it is often
realised the help that these people are."

In New York last week, the Taoiseach thanked the advisory
board which is made up of senior US business figures with
Irish ties, for "bringing jobs and prosperity to Ireland".

But yesterday Government sources admitted that last week
there was a distinct chill towards the Irish administration
from senior figures in Ireland-America, and from some
elements within the Bushadministration.

Mr Kelleher has been a discreet but constant presence in
the peace process fora number of years and is majority
shareholder in Wall Street Access - a Manhattan-based money
management company.

But now he says that anti-American hysteria coming from
Ireland toward America will damage our economy.

"Yes, I do believe it has the potential, longer term, to be
harmful to American business relocation to Ireland. Of
course other factors, such as being competitive, will also
play a role. But if goodwill is damaged, then the path of
least resistance will choose more friendly environments.
Yes, the peace process could suffer. Others on this side of
the world feel exactly as I do. I have spoken to them," he

The latest controversy erupted when third world charity
chief John O'Shea of Goal scornfully dismissed the idea of
Irish financial aid to the people of New Orleans as Katrina
ripped through the poorest and predominantly black parts of
the city, saying that America was "awash with

"They do not need our money," he said in a radio interview
in which he strongly criticised suggestions that Irish
soldiers could be dispatched to the devastated Gulf Coast
to provide ready-meals, blankets, first aid and water
purification kits,medical aid, crutches and wheelchairs to
victims ofthe hurricane.

Two US-based members of the Goal board of directors - Niall
O'Dowd, editor of the New York-based Irish Voice and Declan
Kelly, chief of leading consultancy firm Financial Dynamics
- quit over Mr O'Shea's controversial comments.

The Government, through Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern, approved an aid package worth €1m.

Yesterday, Dermot Ahern told the Sunday Independent: "When
I was in New York attending the UN Summit I met with and
addressed Irish-American business leaders. At that lunch I
spoke about the close ties between both countries and the
debt of gratitude Ireland owed America since the famine
years, the decades of emigration and more recently its
great help in the peace process, regardless of who was
president. I was somewhat taken aback by the numbers who
approached me after the lunch to thank me for my remarks.
They said that not enough people with a voice in Ireland
were reflecting that view."

He added: "There was real anger about the criticism in
Ireland of the Irish Government's donation of €1m to ease
the hardship of Hurricane Katrina. Some were perplexed by
it, particularly against a backdrop where America has held
out the hand of friendship and opportunity to Ireland.

"I do believe that when the hard decisions about investment
are made in American boardrooms, Ireland will continue to
be a very attractive option for foreign direct investment -
indeed retain its position at the top. I would hate to
think that any decision would be coloured by a perception,
wrong in my opinion, that Ireland and Irish people are
anti-American. That is not the case. True, some media
commentators have been highly critical, but that is their

"I think the difficulty that Irish-America in particular
has is their growing feeling that Ireland, with its new
wealth and confidence, is beginning to turn a little sour
on the US. We want their peace money, their inward
investment and jobs and special treatment in terms of visas
for our young people. But at the same time we want to keep
them locked away in the back room like an old demented
uncle who is out of step and very embarrassing to our new

"That is a pity. We have such tremendous links with
America. It has been a place of refuge and sustenance for
Irish people. Almost 40 million people claim Irish descent.
Their pay packets sent home kept Irish families in Ireland
above the breadline for decades.

"The latest natural disaster in America should focus our
attention and solidarity with them because they are first
and foremost our friends, leaving aside the usual economic
arguments that the US is Ireland's largest single source of
direct inward investment and over 90,000 people are
directly employed in over 570 US companies in Ireland.

The media commentators Mr Ahern referred to include
columnist Vincent Browne.

Mr Kelleher said he was "astonished and outraged" by the
hysterical and ill-informed anti-Americanism.

"I have financially supported John O'Shea's Goal in the
past, but I will not besupporting it into the future," he

He added that the animosity demonstrated by Vincent Browne,
Mr O'Shea and others . . . "is a kind of snobbishness among
some sections of the Irish media, and it's more than we can

"Irish-America helps a lot of causes and to hear this view
put forward that America is 'unfeeling'. Well that is just
wrong. It is not right.

"Did you know that $363bn was provided in the US last year
in private philanthropy? Yes, America has levels of poverty
and we are doing work to alleviate that. The bashing of
America is simply not conscionable. It is only going to
turn Irish-America and America against Ireland.

"We have all been heartened that Ireland is on the up
economically and I have been honoured to be asked by the
Taoiseach to sit on his Ireland-America Economic Advisory
Board, but it should be remembered that these things are
highly cyclical and this America bashing will be remembered
into the future."

Mr Kelleher said highly personal criticism of US President
George Bush was unthinking and hysterical.

"It is hurting the relationships between this country and
Ireland. It has hurt the relationship already and I regret

"Mr O'Shea will not be warmly received when he comes
calling to Irish-America for his worthy causes. Remember
that 22 per cent of the entire UN budget - 22 per cent - is
paid by America."


GAA Plans Alcohol Crackdown

25 September 2005 By Ian Kehoe

The GAA is cracking down on alcohol abuse within the
association, despite the fact that the hurling championship
is sponsored by Guinness. The association will publish an
alcohol and drug policy and is appointing a full-time
officer to look after the area. It also plans to launch a
nationwide alcohol awareness campaign in an effort to curb
excessive and underage drinking among its members.

The anti-alcohol initiatives will be announced over the
next four weeks, following the end of the All-Ireland
championships. The move follows the publication of a report
on alcohol and substance abuse by a GAA taskforce last

"The policy has been developed and we are now ready to go,"
said a source. "There will be a series of initiatives and
announcements over the coming weeks.'' One of the first
announcements will be the appointment of a dedicated
official to implement the new code of conduct.

That code of conduct is understood to list practical
measures to combat the growing problems of underage
drinking, such as the promotion of alcohol-free events in
GAA clubs. Last year's report called for the phasing out of
alcohol sponsorship within two years, but it is unclear if
the GAA will sever its links with Guinness when its
sponsorship of the hurling championship expires next year.

It is understood the deal will be reviewed and it will be
left to the GAA's Central Council to decide on the matter.

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To September 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?